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Saturday - September 29, 2007

From: Kempner, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for wildlife and trees for shade.
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We live in Kempner Texas, our land has mostly cedar trees. We would like to make a wildlife habitat on the back side of our property. Can you recommend plants that will grow in shade to partial sun, compatible with cedar and wildlife friendly? Also we want a good shade tree for our front.


Mr. Smarty Plants has these suggestions for plants native to Lampasas County Texas that will benefit wildlife.

Shrubs/Small trees:
The following shrubs or small trees have flowers that attract nectar-feeding insects and hummingbirds, their fruits provide food for a variety of mammals and birds, and their foliage provides nesting sites for birds.

Ilex decidua (possumhaw)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Frangula caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac)

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw)

Grasses are especially valuable to wildlife, plus these two are very attractive and will grow in shade and part-shade.

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

There are many choices for a shade tree for your front yard and oaks are always a favorite. Mr. SP recommends that you avoid liveoaks and red oaks since they are particularly susceptible to oak wilt disease. However, there are several oaks for your area that are oak wilt resistant. These are:

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak)

Quercus stellata (post oak)

Besides oaks, Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) and Ulmus americana (American elm), are good shade trees and do very well with Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper), also called cedar trees.

If you would like a small tree with spectacular fall colors, you can't go wrong with Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple).

Ilex decidua

Ilex vomitoria

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Frangula caroliniana

Mahonia trifoliolata

Prunus mexicana

Rhus lanceolata

Viburnum rufidulum

Elymus canadensis

Chasmanthium latifolium




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